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I’m a fan of things that make my life simpler. Just to pick on smart phones, you’ve heard the saying “There’s an app for that” and it’s true.  Need to know the weather for tomorrow’s soccer practice? Ask your smart phone assistant. Want a pizza? No problem. Need a ride? Got you covered. Like many folks these days I have a lot on my plate so I appreciate things that let me focus on what’s important.

While that is true for our personal lives, it’s possibly more so for our professional lives. The mantra for quite some time has been “do more with less!”. That is code for “You have a flat budget and half the staff you had a year ago and the business still has to get more agile to compete”. How do you do that? My friend, you simplify as much as you can and focus your energies on the problems that move the needle.

How the Magic Happens 
Here in the orbiting headquarters at Nebulon, we are working to simplify your (operations) life when it comes to storage for your VMware infrastructure so you can focus on things that add value. Our smartInfrastructure is server-embedded, infrastructure software delivered as-a-service, which offers the benefits of the public cloud on-premises, from core to edge for any application—containerized, virtualized or bare-metal.

The solution is made up of a cloud control plane called nebulon ON which powers an on-prem data plane, the Nebulon Services Processing Unit (SPU), in your application server. The smartInfrastructure model takes all the guesswork out of provisioning storage (and server) resources to your apps with a catalogue of preconfigured application templates. Combined with modules for Ansible, Terraform, PowerShell and Kubernetes container storage interface (CSI) drivers we make building infrastructure easy.

Roll in some rack, power and pipe and watch the magic happen. As a proof point, the demo shown here uses the Nebulon PowerShell module to take a set of blank, out of the box servers powered by Nebulon SPUs, and turn them into a fully functional vSphere environment in less than 10 minutes. The entire self-service workflow is driven through PowerShell. Let’s walk through what is being shown in the demo.

Detailing smartInfrastructure for VMware in a Demo
We start showing a set of three servers that have just been unpacked, hooked up to power and a top of rack switch with a very simple network setup and turned on. The servers automatically report into the nebulon ON cloud and are ready to be provisioned.

A PowerShell script reads in a simple CSV file with some configuration parameters and then gets to work. First off, it queries all the servers to ensure they are healthy and ready to go and then constructs a Nebulon nPod (a group of servers running a given VMware cluster). Using the Nebulon PowerShell module, the script applies an application template to the nPod cluster to automate the deployment of the ESXi 7.0 image on each server in the cluster.

Edit nPod Template

After the template has been applied, the servers reboot to complete the installation. Once the servers are up, the servers have their network and other settings finalized and then shared VMFS datastores are created from all pre-provisioned volumes. The ESXi servers are then added to an existing vCenter instance. Some advanced configuration then happens including DRS and HA setup. The nPod is now ready to host a workload.

vSphere Client

Once everything is up and running, we integrate with the vCenter instance to begin pulling vSphere metrics into nebulon ON. This enables advanced telemetry that can be used in an AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) framework to simply troubleshooting, proactive incident response and capacity management among other things.

nPod Group

Simple Day 1 to Day n
Nebulon simplifies your life at all stages of your IT journey, and not just for VMware but for containerized applications too. From acquisition (you get us from your server OEM of choice) to day 0 (installation and configuration) to day 1+ (global reporting and AIOps powered service and support). Want to know more? Give The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Defined Storage a read to really get a handle on how things tick or drop us an email and schedule a demo to see for yourself.

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Aaron Patten

Principal Solutions Architect

Aaron Patten is a technology enthusiast with 20 years of experience in various IT related roles. Aaron is passionate about building solutions and teaching others how to best use them to solve real world problems. He is most comfortable in the lab and currently is focused on VMware, Kubernetes and distributed databases with a splash of DevOps for good measure.